When the tourist visits Venice and want to buy a Venetian mask, is in front of such a wide choice of quality and price, that is often disoriented and end up many times to buy products that do not belong to the true and original Venetian craftsmanship.
How to distinguish what is and especially how is made an authentic venetian mask?
There are three factors that characterize the true Venetian masks:
The true Venetian mask is crafted exclusively handmade in paper mache. In fact you can find in Venice souvenirs in various other types of materials, such as plastic and pressed paper. Latter is very similar to paper mache only that the procedure to achieve it is an automated process.
Are used machinery in which a mixture of glue and paper is pressed and you lose, then, the originality of the mask and the typical craftsmanship.
A mask made paper mache instead is made entirely by hand, and as such, is unique and presents imperfections and irregularities that there are no present in the pressed paper instead, where each mask is equal to the others.
discover what is the paper mache*
* Please note that the technique used for the masks is called technique of glued paper and differs from the one explained in wikipedia. We will explain in a later post what is this technique.
On this image you can see how it looks a mask just created, before decoration.
Even here the difference is in the decoration process and quality. In some laboratories, we only deal with a part of the decor and then the mask is passed into other hands that perform other stages of decoration. In this way, you lose the uniqueness and originality of the mask which, therefore, is produced in series.
a craft mask.
f you notice low prices that deviate from the mean, then you are definitely in front of a product is not authentic.
in fact are spreading in Venice discount shops, where the products are far from achieving the quality of a craftsmanship mask.
Ultimately the stores where are made authentic venetian masks, are not as widespread, and we can say that they are only a small percentage of the sale of masks in Venice.
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